Something to Live For
Composer: Ronnie Reshef
Librettist: Jennie Contuzzi & Ronnie Reshef
Other Artistic Personnel: Samuel McCoy (conductor)
Jeanne-Minette Cilliers (pianist)
Elizabeth Carlson (director)
Original Cast: Rachel Arky (Alina)
Isaac Grier (Man)
Blake Friedman (Young Man)
Chee-Shen Tan (American Officer I)
Lucas Richter (American Officer II/German Officer II)
Quentin Lee (American Officer III/German Officer I)
Aine Hakamatsuka (Yashke)

Aine Hakamatsuka
Alexandra Fees
Alexandra Filipe
Alexis Rodda
Blake Friedman
Emma Perlwitz
Isaac Grier
Kelvin Chan
Mark Nimar
Perri Sussman
Ry-An White
Quentin Lee

Premiere Date: April 04, 2013
Producing Company: Independent
Description: It is January 27th 1945, the day of liberation of “Auschwitz Birkenau”: a concentration camp in Nazi Germany. Alina, a thirty-four year old prisoner, cannot celebrate with the other liberated prisoners: her eight year old son, Yashke, was taken from her upon arrival to the camp, nine months earlier, and now she is determined to find him. While debriefed by American soldiers, Alina tells her war story, starting at the transport nine months earlier, until this day of liberation. In her story, which constitutes the heart of the opera, we hear stories of Yashke and their forced separation, of Alina’s fellow prisoners, and of the cruelty of the Nazi soldiers. We enter the mind and body of a woman who is imprisoned and tortured on a racist base, and experience her distress as she must survive the daily horrors of the war in order to reunite with Yashke, who she prays for every day.

On one hand, Alina feels that she must survive solely to be there for Yashke when the war is over, and on the other hand it is Yashke who is guarding her, by his constant presence in her thoughts, keeping her from giving up and surrendering to death which waits around every corner. The thoughts of Yashke, which help Alina to survive while she dreams of the day she will find him and help him, drive this story: a historic, moving, humanistic document. Although the libretto was written as fiction, all the events it describes are based on testimonies and diaries that remained from the war, hundreds of which constitute the foundations of Something to Live For.
Character List (Major): Alina (ms)
Character List (Minor): Rena (ms)
Rosa (ms)
Ava (s)
Man (bb)
Young Man (t)
American officer I (t)
American officer II/German officer II (t)
American officer III/German officer I (b)
Yashke (bs)
Bit Parts: Woman (s)
Crazy old woman (a)
Child (bs)
Young man (t)
Length: 01:45
Total Acts: 2
Chorus: SATB
Orchestration: 1111
2 perc
strings (no less than 11111) OR piano score option
Musical Style: Tonal, accessible, dramatic
Contact: Ronnie Reshef
E-mail Address:
Phone: (917)848-7111
Composer Web Site:
Publisher Web Site:
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